Dr. Govinda KC; A Lone Crusader

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Who is Dr. Govinda KC? 

Maybe no one needs the introduction of Dr. Govinda KC to know who he is. His humanitarian works define him quite well. The philanthropic activism he’s been involved in since few years to eradicate the corruption prevailing in the medical sector of Nepal, properly explains what kind of man he is.   

Dr. Govinda KC is an orthopedic surgeon and professor of orthopedics at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital who considers the proper service to his patients and students as the only things to prioritize in his life. His earlier life suggests that he had studied the 3 years program ‘Health Assistant (HA)’ at the Institute of Medicine, MBBS and M.S in Bangladesh, after which he became a ‘Orthopedic Surgeon’. He has served in Bir hospital, volunteered at Institute of Medicine and became professor there in Orthopedics. 

Humanitarian Works 

Besides his profession, he is well-known as a philanthropist who never steps back for any kind of humanitarian works. He has always been involved in humanitarian services in Nepal as well as foreign countries when there arise a need of it.  
In Nepal, he has mostly focused on providing quality medical services to the people in rural Nepal where medicines cannot be accessed easily. He also provides required training to health workers there along with the free medical services.  
He has never hesitated in travelling to other countries to serve victims of epidemic diseases and natural disasters like earthquake, flood and Tsunami. So far, he has visited India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Haiti and Philippines to help people affected by the same reasons. 

Medical sector refinement campaign 

We all know what kind of system we have got in our country. No matter what the field is, corruption and conspiracies have been firmly rooted since ages. Medical sector is one of them even though it is the most sensitive thing that is directly connected with a person’s life.  

“Medical colleges are not the lucrative business homes, rather they should be the one providing the quality education and health services to each and every citizen of the country”, Dr. KC says.  

While all Nepali people used to think that nothing can bring change to this adulterated system of ours, Dr. Govinda KC took an audacious step all alone to eliminate the same in medical education and service sector. His hunger strikes have been successful in getting intense media coverage, public support and pressurize the related authorities to make the necessary changes.  

The first time he started his hunger strike, he said, “I am fasting because I want to end the corruption in the education and health institutions.” His main agendas included: 

  • End the corruption in health education system, 
  • Avoid political interference in medical field,  
  • Reform medical sector policies, 
  • make the medical services easily accessible in rural areas,  
  • Establishment of affordable government medical colleges in rural areas and  
  • Creating a health policy to grant the Institute of Medicine (IoM) affiliations to new medical colleges.  
Dr. KC signing agreement being in hunger strike

Hunger strikes (Fast-unto-Death)

Dr. Govinda KC’s fast-unto-death campaigns against the corruption and political interference in medical education system in Nepal is the one which made him ‘A Lone Crusader’. He has been doing it since 2012. So far, he has staged for 13 hunger strikes for the same reasons again and again as the government of Nepal failed to meet his demands properly. “Despite commitment from the government, the demands remain largely unfulfilled. That’s why, I’m compelled to restart the hunger strike.” Dr. KC says while resuming every hunger strike.  

As he has picked up such a genuine subject to bring changes in, public has always shown solidarity with him. Everyone knows it is not for his personal gain or on behalf of any political party or Organization but for every Nepali citizen. Hence, different political parties, social activists, artists, celebrities and youths; everyone came together to support him and get the demands fulfilled for the sake of quality medical education and service in the country. No wonder, #IamwithDrKC became a top trending in context of Nepal when he staged for every hunger strike.  

Solidarity for Dr. GKC (photo: ekantipur)

Similarly, his eight fast-unto-death strike which lasted for 16 days from July 10 to 26, 2016 included a very bold demand which was to impeach Chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Lokman Singh Karki along with the previous demands. Dr. KC stated that Mr. Karki had breached his jurisdiction as he interfered into the medical entrance examination of Kathmandu University, obstructed the overall process of medical education’s reforms, included merit-based admission and the ceiling on fees to serve business interests of people closer to him. This particular movement was a success in the end. 

Solidarity for Dr. KC (photo: ekantipur)

Latest hunger strike

His latest hunger strike, the 13th one was started on October 5th, right after the Dashain vacation with the following demands: 

  • Endorsement of the HPE Bill with the provisions recommended by a team of experts 
  • All medical schools to comply with the fee structure set by the government 
  • Investigation into the embezzlement of billions of rupees by Gopal Bahadur Khadka, the sacked chief of Nepal Oil Corporation 

This particular hunger strike was ended on 14th day, October 18th, 2017 after the government assured Dr. KC to address his demands through ordinance with a 10-point pact agreement. 

We hope that this time government will keep the words and won’t force Dr. KC to initiate yet another fast-unto-death again.

The hunger strike dates and duration: 

First : July 5 – 8, 2012 (4 days)
Second : Aug 11 – 17, 2012 (6 days)
Third : Jan 11 – 24, 2014 (14 days)
Fourth :  Feb 8 – 15, 2014 (8 days)
Fifth : Feb 20 –  March 3, 2015 (12 days)
Sixth : Aug 24 – Sep 6, 2015 (14 days)
Seventh : Sep 19 – 29, 2015 (11 days)
Eighth : July 10 – 26, 2016 (16 days)
Ninth : Sep 26 – Oct 8, 2016 (13 days)
Tenth : Nov 13 – Dec 4, 2016 (22 days)
Eleventh : July 24 – Aug 15, 2017 (postponed on 23rd day due to floods in Terai)
Twelfth : September 25 – September 27, 2017 (postponed due to Dashain festival)
Thirteenth : October 5 – October 18 (14 days)  

I wonder how would Nepal be if there were more people like Dr. Govinda KC.

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